The Prince Of Egypt

on December 18, 1998 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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   The Biblical Book of Exodus provides the basis for this rags-to-riches-to-salvation rendition of the life of Moses. Keeping true to the story (with the filmmakers going so far as to consult religious scholars), "The Prince of Egypt" tells the tale in a dynamic, dramatic way. After a perilous basket journey in the Nile, baby Moses ends up at the palace and is adopted by the troubled Pharaoh Seti (voiced by Patrick Stewart). Growing up, Moses (voiced by Val Kilmer) is very mischievous and enjoys challenging his brother Ramses (voiced by Ralph Fiennes). One night, Moses ventures outside of the palace and is confronted and is told truth about his past; once this is confirmed by his father, Moses feels that all he knows to be true is a lie. After a soul-searching walk in the dessert, he finds a new life and meets God. He then heads back to Egypt to relay God's message.
   The visual depth of the film captivates the senses and makes audiences forget they are watching an animated film. The combinations of various animation techniques have set a precedent in innovating the standards of the medium. The hieroglyphic dream sequence is a standout example, with mesmerizing results.
   Usually, animated films are primarily for children, with overly-exaggerated comic relief characters, cutesy animal sidekicks and plenty of singalong songs. "The Prince of Egypt" dares to flaut this formula: This animated drama is for adults, but is rated so that children can also see it. There are no talking animals and the songs are not the toe-tapping extravaganzas that had become predictable and obligatory in the genre.
   "Prince of Egypt" is filled with real human emotions. Uncertainty, fear and remorse are some of the feelings Moses must wrestle. However, because the film has gone to great lengths to not offend, it has omitted several facts, skimming the surface of the story and adding color. The result leaves one visually fulfilled and emotionally drawn in, but intellectually unsatisfied. Voiced by Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Stewart, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum and Danny Glover. Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells. Story supervised by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook. Produced by Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins. A DreamWorks release. Animated drama. Rated PG for intense depiction of thematic elements. Running time: 99 min
Tags: Bible, Moses, religion, Egypt, animation, oppression, faith, God, Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Stewart, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Siman Wells
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